The Morning After

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With adjustments made for the final results, yesterday’s exit polls show Clinton winning white Catholics and Protestants by nearly identical margins of 62-38 and 61-39 respectively in Indiana. In North Carolina, she did considerably better among white Protestants (67-30) than white Catholics (58-41). So what gives?
White Protestants in Indiana are a fairly even mix of evangelicals and mainliners, with the former more plentiful in the southern part of the state and the latter in the northern part. Catholics, too, are thicker on the ground in northern Indiana, but can be found in significant numbers throughout the state. Both Catholics and Protestants are longtime residents, and in class terms, there’s not much to choose between them. In contrast to Pennsylvania, then, which saw a sharp divide between blue-collar Catholics and white-collar mainline Protestants in the primary, Indiana’s white Christians are much of a muchness, and voted that way.
White Protestants in North Carolina are a good deal more evangelical than they are in Indiana, but the important point to bear in mind is that Catholics Tar Heels are more likely to be recent arrivals in the state: younger, better educated, better off, and hence with a greater propensity to vote for Obama than Catholics in Pennsylvania.
Among the several religious categories, Obama polled most strongly with non-Judeo-Christians and those with no religion. That’s a pattern that has held pretty much across the board throughout this mercifully ending primary season.
Update: Not surprisingly, the Obama campaign sees its improved performance in a more self-congratulatory light.